Coconuts Banned at Hindu Temple
Posted by shadmia on June 19, 2007
The Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai, India was built to honor the Hindu elephant-headed god of good fortune, Ganesh, it is one of India’s most famous temples. Worshippers come from all over and stand for several hours in line with the traditional offerings of flowers and coconuts, waiting patiently for a two minute “Darshan” or meeting. Thousands of people visit this temple daily.
India is also a country that has had many experiences with terrorism. Security measures have been tightened at many temples across the country because of terrorist activities. In Sept 2002, gunmen attacked the Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar killing at least 30 people and wounding more than 100 others. Another 20 people were killed in March 2006, when two bombs exploded in Varanasi, home to the Sankat Mochan Hanuman temple.
Nevertheless it took a lot of people by surprise when officials at the Siddhivinayak Temple announced that they were asking people not to bring in their traditional offerings of coconuts for fear that bombs could be hidden inside them.
“As of today we have asked people not to bring in coconuts,” said Subash Mayekar, a trustee at central Mumbai’s Siddhivinayak Temple. He said worshippers are also prohibited from bringing floral garlands, but added, “a few flowers in their hands are all right.”
“Explosives could be placed inside coconuts and we have to be careful,” said Mayekar, adding that the process of searching all the worshippers’ offerings was causing long delays. The temple, which already has a bullet proof wall surrounding it, is reputed by the police to be a prime target for terrorists. The banning of coconuts “is just a precautionary measure for the safety of the devotees and the temple”
Worshippers traditionally walk barefoot for many miles to Siddhivinayak Temple hoping their prayers to Ganesh, the god of good fortune, are answered. Nobody was happy with this decision.
“It is sacrilegious not to offer coconuts. It goes against Hindu faith and custom,” said S. Ganesan, who has written a book on the temple. “They should instead update their security. If a terrorist wants to create trouble, he does not need a coconut.”
Below is a video of the Hindu ceremony of Aarti performed at the The Siddhivinayak Temple